Keep Trying

Friday, June 27, 2003

Questions About the New RSS

Sam Ruby and IBM are doing great stuff for the community with the new RSS replacement currently going under the name of Echo. From what I understand, RSS was originally developed under the tutelage of Netscape but Dave Winer is most responsible for its widespread adoption. Primarily because of issues of control, the development community has undertaken to create this RSS replacement. Shelley Powers has the best summary of this effort.

Here are some questions?

How exactly does IBM benefit from this - from a business point of view? The altruistic argument is not as believable.

Are there dangers in having a single person and company, Sam Ruby and IBM, put in so much effort and thereby be afforded a disproportionate degree of control? Having seen the control issues with Mr Winer, is the community making the same mistake again with a single person/company alone at the steering wheel? Control is always an issue no matter how outstanding and upstanding the leaders.

If the roadmap does not suggest dropping RSS 9.x, RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0 at some point in the future, aren't we creating a multiple platform support problem which will negatively affect the smaller software developers (except for Userland, which already supports multiple platforms) the most?

When Dave says "Please help me get rid of the personality issues", does he mean that we should blog and email him constructive criticism when he behaves badly?

Have you addressed any or all of Tim Bray's concerns. Specifically looking at the different requirements for "Echo for weblogs" and "Echo for stock quotes, bank balances, news stories etc"? If the roadmap is only for weblogs, should it be clarified so that the bigger companies can make some wise decisions on how to support it?

Even with all the questions, I think this is a great effort and I thank Sam and Dave for all their efforts to date. But as we all fail to learn, time and time again: the devil will be in the details.